This is the second volume of Michael Logusz’s epic work on the Wilderness War of 1777, in which the British Army, with its German, Loyalist, and Indian auxiliaries, attempted to descend from Canada to sever the nascent American colonies, only to be met by Patriot formations contesting the invasion of their newly declared nation.
In his first volume, on the Saratoga campaign, the author described how Burgoyne’s main thrust was first stalled and then obliterated during its advance down the Hudson River. Burgoyne had hoped to be met by a corresponding British thrust from New York City, but this never materialized, Lord Howe opting to attack Philadelphia instead. But the British had indeed launched a third thrust from the west, embarking from Lake Ontario at Oswego and thence forging its way down the Mohawk Valley.
This third British thrust, under General Barry St. Leger, was perhaps the most terrifying of all, as it overran a sparsely populated wilderness where every man and boy had long needed to bear arms to protect against the ravages of the Iroquois Federation. Yet now the British―imitating the French before them―had made common cause with those same Indians, who now roamed across the frontier as the warpainted spearhead of the Empire’s new attack.
At Fort Stanwix in upstate New York a Patriot (former British) fort held fast, though surrounded by St. Leger’s forces and his Mohawk and Loyalist auxiliaries. A relief column some 800 strong under Nicholas Herkimer attempted to relieve the fort, but it was ambushed en route with most of its men―including the entire male population of several nearby communities―killed or wounded. At this Battle of Oriskany, the basis for the movie “Drums Along the Mohawk,” Herkimer himself was mortally wounded. Fortunately a sally from Fort Stanwix raided the Indian camp during the battle, compelling many of the warriors to desist from annihilating the entire column.
In the end, Fort Stanwix was relieved only when Benedict Arnold―soon to excel at Saratoga, just as he had done at Valcour Island and elsewhere throughout the Revolution―marched his troops through and forced the British to give up their western onslaught.
In this book, as in his highly acclaimed first volume, the author captures the terrain, tactics and terror of this brutal, multifaceted wilderness war as few writers have done before. It was neighbor against neighbor, native Americans on both sides, and European professionals against Colonial Patriots, in a desperate campaign that helped determine America’s fate.
Michael O. Logusz
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is volume two of a planned 3-part series about the Revolutionary War in central and upper New York State. While thix book sort of stands alone, it does build on volume 1, and I would recommend reading them in order.
---The Good Stuff---
* As with the first volume, the author is an excellent story-teller. He not only relates the "official" history, such as who commanded, who attacked, when, but also relates some of the personal opinions and motivations behind what was happening. The book is easy to read, and flows well.
* The Revolutionary war in this part of New York was every bit as violent and gruesome as the oft-mention Carolina campaigns. The actions of the British Army, with its attached Indian, German and Loyalist militias, is as far as you can get from the familiar image of gentlemen in red coats that we all can relate to. Logusz doesn't shy away from gory descriptions of what happened, but doesn't sensationalize them either. And the story...
Anyone interested in volume II of 'With Musket and Tomahawk' has more than likely read the first work by Michael O. Logousz, (Saratoga Campaign) and so will be familiar with his writing style. Logusz does a very nice job of blending detailed research into a very engrosing story which allows readers to not just learn about a historical event, but to get excited about it as well. As readers of his first work well know, Logusz has a talent for bringing history to life, expecially when describing combat and the lives and dispositions of those "making" the history. Logusz gets into character development just enough for the reader to come away from the book with the ability to describe the individuals and settings to a friend, but not so much so that you feel as if you just attended (slept through) a ninety minute lecture in a four hundred level history class. The research, character development, and action is at just the right balance to makes for an excellent read regardless of any...
Really well done with detailed references and a walk thru of all major actions (and some minor) of the campaign up the Mohawk Valley in 1777 including the siege of Fort Stanwix and the frontier battle of Oriskany.
You'd have to put buckskins on, grab a flintlock and walk the grounds to get any closer. Extremely well done, with a nearly day by day - blow by blow - view of the actions as they unfolded, on some of the most savage fighting during the revolutionary war in America.
I sincerely hope this author goes on to finish the trilogy and detail Howe's capture of Philedelphia and the battle of Monmouth. Highly recommended; try also to get a copy of Volume I as it details the Saratoga campaign, a must have for any revolutionary war library and to provide the backdrop to the events of Volume II.
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